SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-oriented. And with each element in SMART objectives, you’re going to want to ask yourself a set of questions that’ll help you develop a winning goal.
Whether you’re new to management or you’ve been in the role for a few years, you should check out this infographic to see where your leadership style lands. And, if you find yourself checking off more boxes on the left, try changing things up a bit. After all, you want to be the person your subordinates talk about fondly during happy hour—not the person who gets referred to in stories as, “Ugh, my boss …”
After his native Bangladesh fought a war to become independent, Abed established BRAC (originally Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee) to aid the rural poor, including 10 million returning refugees. He has built it into the world’s largest nonprofit, with over 100,000 employees serving millions in 10 Asian and African countries. He was knighted in 2010.
With that in mind, sometimes the executive team is surprised by some of the people I speak with, unaware that insight and understanding reside with people in roles they would not have considered. People in finance, product development and legal affairs have a different understanding about the market than marketing people do.
“Leaders don’t always have the luxury of speaking to individuals in an intimate setting. Great communicators can tailor a message such that they can speak to 10 people in a conference room or 10,000 people in an auditorium and have them feel as if they were speaking directly to each one of them as an individual”
You need to understand just what the corporate objectives are. In other words, what is the organization producing and more importantly, what benefits will the product or services have for its customers. People prefer to have a global purpose; they would rather know that the actions they are performing each day will result in positive consequences.
Surround yourself with other people who are successful. When you’re surrounded with people who are highly-driven, it’s encouraging. You can bounce ideas off people, and they can even connect you with other people. Surrounding yourself with driven, successful people is a way to create a culture of success.
The third and final theme that seems to be constant across the texts is that leaders are not shy about letting the world know about their accomplishments, and they are even less shy about letting the world know about their teams’ accomplishments. When sharing these successes they rarely use the subjective personal pronoun I, but always say we. Interestingly, this focus on sharing the success of the team is one of the ways that leaders accomplish the second theme we discussed above. It is a simple fact of human nature, that people like being recognized for their hard work. People also really dislike it when others take credit for their hard work. Good leaders understand that, and apply it to how they interact with their teams.
As you gain experience supporting and guiding the work of others, challenges will grow in complexity and ambiguity. One consultant describes leadership development as moving outward in a series of concentric circles, with the most basic leadership activities at the center and the most challenging work of senior leadership and organizational strategy and development at the far outer rings. Continually seek challenges that move you beyond the known and comfortable areas into new and increasingly complex problems.
Ideas came to me in a flash, but sometimes I’d held them back. Why? I’m not sure. In meetings, I stayed silent at times because I didn’t want to overshadow anyone else on the team. Most of those good ideas were lost in a vapor cloud. More important, they could have spurred others on and fostered a better dialogue.
You need a healthy level of self assurance that gives you a practical (sometime impractical) sense of faith in your cause that drives you forward with no excuses, roadblocks or negativity holding you back.
Let’s start with the definition of “leader.” My good friend and mentor, Dr. Paul Hersey, defined leadership as “working with and through others to achieve objectives.” Given this definition, anyone in a position whose achievement requires support from others can play the role of a leader. I love this definition because it supports the philosophy of “leadership at all levels,” which is so critical in today’s world of knowledge workers.
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It sounds corny, and maybe you can overdo this one, but I honestly believe many employees in young companies need constant encouragement. We live in complex, competitive times and people are inundated with too many tasks and not enough time. Technology and business life can be overwhelming, so it’s important to point out any “wins” no matter how small. And, if you do have to criticize, think seriously about the impact first.
One of a principal’s most important roles is ensuring that every student is taught by an excellent teacher. Although it can be time-consuming, principals must actively recruit good teachers to their schools. Principals can visit teacher education classes to find promising new teachers; they can open their schools to student teachers and try to hire the good ones; and they can talk to teachers and other principals to find quality experienced teachers who might be looking for new positions.
Fear failure (or even fear of success) often prevents you from taking action and putting your creation out there in the world. But a lot of opportunities will be lost if you wait for things to be right.